A chronology of Chrest-Chrestian-Christ
Corpus inscriptionum graecarum, Vol. 2
Note: The term Epekoos can be understood here as 'attentive', as in 'the one who listens'.
Due to the immense and valuable work of the author known as Acharya S/D.M. Murdock, thinking on the usage and meanings of the term Chreste has advanced considerably. I have recently joined her in open discussion on this, here. She also has this very informative page: Isis the Chrēst
We all know that Chrest is often meant as 'Good', or something useful; but it became associated in sacred texts with the Chi-Rho, itself derivative of the Ankh and thus Ancient Egyptian, magical resurrection; Chrest appears in the New Testament as a title for IS, known later as Jesus, and then is altered to read Christ, understood as messiah.
This history of development needs, I suggest, a chronology, so we can begin to understand who did what, when, and what the term meant to them at that particular time. Here is my first attempt:
- Isis (and both Osiris and Horus) in pharaonic, Ancient Egypt; also the Isis Myth of death and resurrection from the Nile.
- Chrest - in normal usage, something good, useful.
- Chi-Rho used by Ptolemy III (246–222 BCE).
- Isis Chreste - appearing in Ptolemaic Egypt.
- Cleopatra VII (69 - 30 BCE) as Nea, the 'new Isis'.
- Chrest Magus bowl, late-1st century BCE - early-1st century CE.
- Chrestians - Roman inscription with Antonia Minor, Drusus and Jucundus.
- 'IS Chrest' in early Chrestian and Manichaean texts.
- 'IS Chrest' in Marcionite synagogue, Syria 318/9 CE
- 'IS Chrest' in the original New Testament (4th century)
- Chi-Rho adopted overtly by Constantine I.
- 'IS Chrest' altered to read Jesus Christ
I therefore think we must associate this Egyptian killing, followed by riverine resurrection, with baptism, starting with (i) the drowning and resurrection of Antinous by Hadrian (130 CE), then (ii) the accounts of John the Baptiser.
Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist...
(Antiquities of the Jews (book 18, chapter 5, 2) by Flavius Josephus (37–100))
The river god watches John baptising: the dove places the divine spirit into the young man to make him divine - IS Chrest.
And then, in the gospels:
John the baptiser appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptised by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mark)[We've discussed previously and in the main site what name the IS may represent: James, Izas, Josephus, Julius Caesar; now we may add Isis.]
I suggest that, putting Christianity aside for a moment, the two biggest, most important changes to the meaning of Chrest are:
- As a title for a divine man, walking the Earth (and who is killed, then resurrected).
Cleopatra as Isis. Dendera.
The last change is, I think, revolutionary. Nobody imagined Isis, or Isis Chreste as a person walking the Earth, yet somebody did imagine the character IS Chrest, later to become Jesus Christ. That is remarkable and this has to begin with Cleopatra VII, who did actually exist and claimed to be Isis resurrected.
Resurrection began with a god - not a real person actually living, dying and coming back to life; even Antinous came back only in stone; then some bright spark - Bardaisan I think - had this great idea to make this divinity a real person, like Antinous, but further - coming back to life as a real person. Hence, the gospels.